There’s a lot of great credit cards out there, but some hold up over time better than others. What cards are the 10xTravel team keeping in their wallet year after year, and why?

John_Tunningly
John Tunningley

John Tunningley

While there was once a time when I had my card strategy lined up with a handful of Chase cards I’d keep year after year, that has since changed dramatically since my Chase Shutdown. These days I have a handful of American Express and Citibank cards that I plan to keep long into the future and even a Bank of America card that I don’t plan to get rid of.

We’ll start with the easy one that EVERYONE should keep which is my oldest opened card. For me, this happens to be a Bank of America travel rewards card but I’m sure it’s different for many of you and the card itself doesn’t matter, but rather the credit history that comes with it. In my case it has no annual fee making it a perfect card to keep forever; however, its rewards aren’t very lucrative so I only put a couple of dollars on it every few months to ensure the account stays active. It’s important to not completely forget about putting spend on your oldest card occasionally so that banks will not see the account as inactive and potentially shut it down.

Though I don’t use it for travel as much now that the benefits are gone, being able to get 3X points on gas and dining for a low $95 annual fee has encouraged me to keep this card year after year. ~ John Tunningley

The next set of cards I’ve kept is my set of Marriott cards through American Express. I first applied for these two cards when they were the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card® and the Starwood Preferred Guest Card® and unfortunately with the merger, both were converted to Marriott cards. I’ve kept them over the years due in large part to the free nights awarded upon renewal for each card. That said, with the business card having an increased annual fee this will likely be my next card closed.

The other card that I will continue to hold from American Express (at least as long as I’m traveling regularly) is The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card is great because I get 5X points back on travel purchased directly with the airline, a $200 incidental fee credit and lounge access that help me recuperate the large $695 annual fee (See Rates and Fees). In addition to this the Uber credits help offset the fee and the recent offers have done a great job encouraging me to keep the card in a year where I traveled very little.

The last card I have that I know I’ll hold onto long into the future is my Citi ThankYou Preferred card. Even though they took away travel protection benefits and Price Rewind, which was one of my favorite benefits (especially in the weeks leading up to Black Friday), I still value Citi ThankYou Points relatively highly. Though I don’t use it for travel as much now that the benefits are gone, being able to get 3X points on gas and dining for a low $95 annual fee has encouraged me to keep this card year after year.

Anna Zaks
Anna Zaks

Anna Zaks

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has been in my possession from when it launched in 2017. I love the travel interruption insurance, the Priority Pass membership and the 1.5 cents-per-point travel portal redemptions. The $550 annual fee is offset by the $300 travel credit, and all the other benefits are well worth the annual fee.

This is not the best card for earning points. I mostly use it for travel purchases in order to get the travel protection benefits. But I do value the travel portal redemptions because we often travel to places that don’t have chain hotels. I’ve been able to use the portal to book some very nice stays all over the world.

I am of the opinion that not all redemptions have to be at some high-end properties to extract the maximum value. If I am saving a significant amount of money, that’s good value to me! ~ Anna Zaks

The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card is one of my favorite cards. The card has no annual fee and earns 5X at office supply stores. I rarely shop there for office supplies. However, these stores carry a huge range of gift cards. So if I need to buy something from Amazon, I’d get the Amazon gift card at Staples and thus earn 5X on my Amazon purchases. The same goes for a whole slew of other retailers, such as Southwest Airlines, Gap, Whole Foods and Panera.

I opened my World of Hyatt Credit card just over a year ago, but I am going to keep it long-term. The card has a $95 annual fee but comes with a free Category 1-4 night every account anniversary and five elite night credits. The elite night credits might come in handy if I decide to go for elite status with Hyatt.

And while the “free” anniversary night isn’t really free (it costs me $95), it could still provide good value. For example, I was able to use the free night certificate at a New York City hotel near the JFK airport for an overnight layover. It was spring break time, so all hotels in the area, even the basic ones, were in the $200 range. I am of the opinion that not all redemptions have to be at some high-end properties to extract the maximum value. If I am saving a significant amount of money, that’s good value to me!

Anya Kartashova
Anya Kartashova

Anya Kartashova

I’ve written about this credit card before, and I’ll write about it again. It’s that good! The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is likely to stay in my wallet forever. The card earns 2X Membership Rewards points on every single purchase (on up to the first $50,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X thereafter).

The points can be transferred to a variety of loyalty programs, including Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles and Delta SkyMiles—all programs I’ve used in the past. And to make things easy, the card charges $0 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Another credit card, or rather cards, I have held for multiple years are the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (no longer open to applications) and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. Both of these cards award an annual free night certificate at a Marriott property valued up to 35,000 Bonvoy points per night. Although they haven’t been easy to use during the pandemic, the certificates provide more value than what you’d pay in annual fees (see Rates and Fees).

The ability to access Chase’s travel partners is important to me, and I lose the ability to transfer points by only holding the Chase Freedom or the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. In other words, Sapphire for life! ~ Anya Kartashova

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card charges a fee of $95, and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card comes with a $125 fee (see rates and fees). As long as I use the certificates at a Marriott property whose nightly rate is higher than these fees, I offset the cost entirely.

Related: My Stay at the Marriott Cancun Resort Using Free Night Certificates

Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy now awards 15 elite nights credits toward elite status qualification for holding a personal co-branded card and another 15 elite night credits for holding a business co-branded card, which means I earn 30 elite night credits just by keeping both cards open.

Finally, another credit card I keep year after year is some version of a Chase Sapphire card — the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for five years, which I have now upgraded to the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve. The ability to access Chase’s travel partners is important to me, and I lose the ability to transfer points by only holding the Chase Freedom or the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. In other words, Sapphire for life!

Travis Cormier
Travis Cormier

Travis Cormier

There are quite a few cards I’ve kept year after year, but 2020 had me reevaluating a lot of things including my credit card stash. I realized that some cards that I’ve held onto for a while were just getting me a break-even value at best, so I decided to close them.

However, there are a few cards that I absolutely am holding onto long-term in some fashion.

The first is some flavor of a Sapphire card. Whether it is a Chase Sapphire Reserve or a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, I’ll always keep one in my wallet. I have gotten a lot of value out of Ultimate Rewards over the years, and the bonus spend categories on these cards plus the travel protections help make it an easy choice to keep one version of the Sapphire card.

The next card that I keep year after year is The Platinum Card® from American Express. One of the biggest reasons I tend to keep my Amex Plat all comes down to lounge access. My home airport, Houston George Bush (IAH), has a Centurion Lounge. With how much I end up flying out of IAH, I end up in the Centurion Lounge quite a number of times throughout the year. Plus, if I’m connecting, I’m usually flying through a domestic airport with a Centurion Lounge. That makes the Amex Platinum a no brainer for me to hold onto.

My Chase Freedom is the oldest card I have. I have over 10 years of credit history with the card. That credit history is invaluable to me, even if it is taking up a spot I could fill with another card. ~ Travis Cormier

Another card that I keep year after year is one that I recommend to many people who want just one card: The American Express® Gold Card (rates & fees). One of the reasons I love the Amex Gold card is because it earns 4X Membership Rewards on the first $25,000 spent every year at U.S. supermarkets and 1X after that.

For the vast majority of people, after housing, groceries are their highest line-item in their monthly budget. The ability to earn 4X points on spend at U.S. supermarkets can really help add a ton of points to your balance when you’re not working on a welcome bonus for another card.

The last card that I keep year after year is my Chase Freedom card. Although the Chase Freedom is no longer open to new applicants, you can product change to it from another Chase card. However, I don’t keep it for the earning potential. My Chase Freedom is the oldest card I have. I have over 10 years of credit history with the card. That credit history is invaluable to me, even if it is taking up a spot I could fill with another card.